Dropped Chances Prove Costly for Australia as Bairstow Puts on a Show
Dropped Chances Prove Costly for Australia as Bairstow Puts on a Show

England: With Australia facing a humiliating loss in Manchester, England is just six wickets away from forcing an Ashes series final at The Oval.
In the first innings, the hosts scored 592 runs, with wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow left stranded on 99 not out following a spectacular Bazball-inspired assault on Friday.
As a result, Australia crumbled to 4-113 at day three's end with a 162 run deficit, despite Marnus Labuschagne (44*) and Mitchell Marsh (1*) being unbroken.

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This weekend, significant rains are expected in Manchester, which gives the Australians a slim chance of a miraculous draw.
As England scored 592 runs in the first innings at Old Trafford on Friday, Australia's "predictable" and "negative" strategies came under severe scrutiny.
Ben Stokes and Harry Brook's fifty-run fifth-wicket stand on Friday morning prompted Australia to implement Plan B, which involved positioning six fielders on the boundary rope and falling short.
The Australians appeared to be waiting for the batters to make a mistake rather than trying to find a breakthrough as the tactical shift slowed England's momentum but allowed Stokes and Brook to easily rotate the strike.
“Australia doesn’t have a proper method right now other than hope. They need the batters to make a mistake,” legendary commentator Jim Maxwell said.
“The most predictable, stupid cricket. It’s nothing cricket.”
When the second new ball became available in the 80th over, Australia declined to use it out of concern that it would be simpler for Stokes and Brooks to find the boundary rope when facing a fresh Dukes pill. The Australians were careful about stopping the flow of runs rather than looking for wickets.

“The Australian approach is very similar to yesterday, negative,” former England spinner Vic Marks said on BBC Test Match Special.
“The Aussies are playing with a mindset that it is definitely going to rain all weekend. They’ve had a very unlike-Australia attitude.”
In the 91st over, Cummins eventually took the second new ball, and Josh Hazlewood quickly picked up four wickets in a successful 22-ball burst.
“I just don’t understand why they didn’t take it sooner,” lamented former England cricketer Alex Hartley.
Australia lined up all nine fielders on the boundary rope for Jonny Bairstow as England's tailender James Anderson stepped up to the plate in an effort to get the wicketkeeper off strike.


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As a response, Bairstow, who possesses one of the strongest pull shots in all of cricket, repeatedly punched Australia's seamers into the spectators.
To stop Bairstow from farming the strike, Australia's quick bowlers turned to bowling down the leg side, but Carey was powerless to stop a few errant deliveries from floating through for four byes.
Former Victorian wicketkeeper Darren Berry tweeted: “This is unwatchable. Goodnight to all lovers of the game of our great game of cricket. This is absolutely insane to anyone watching this s*** with half a clue about the game. Enough is enough.”
Anderson, 40, looked uneasy against the bombardment of bouncers from Australia's bowlers, but he managed to survive 17 deliveries as he and Bairstow put together a tortuous 66-run partnership for the tenth wicket.
The first delivery Anderson faced that would have impacted the stumps eventually resulted in his dismissal when Cameron Green trapped him LBW.
“Australia got a little carried away with the short stuff,” former Test captain Taylor said on Channel 9.
“There has been too much short bowling … they are better than that.
“Yes, bowl short stuff, but don’t get carried away with it.”
Jonny Bairstow was left stuck on 99 on Friday afternoon, depriving the Old Trafford audience of one of the century celebrations in history.

The England wicketkeeper has been under a lot of criticism throughout the Ashes series after dropping a few catches, failing to properly stump an opponent, and posting five consecutive scores below 21. Before the Old Trafford Test, there were calls for him to delegate Ben Foakes' wicketkeeping responsibilities to him.
But in Manchester this week, Bairstow vehemently refuted his detractors by outclassing his Australian adversary Alex Carey with bat and gloves.
In the first innings, the 33-year-old took a magnificent one-handed catch to dismiss the dangerous Mitchell Marsh, and his England partner Stuart Broad warned that he would use that extra confidence in his batting.
When Bairstow narrowly missed beating Ian Botham's record for the quickest Test century at Old Trafford on Friday afternoon, Broad's prediction came true. Ten boundaries and four sixes were part of his brutal demolition, which left Australia's elite bowling attack looking amateurish.
Bairstow was faced with nine fielders on the rope by Pat Cummins, but the right-hander regularly smashed Australia's quicks over the leg-side boundary in response. It had the same effect as the Bairstow, which ruled the Test arena in England's 2022 home summer.
“We know the capabilities of Jonny Bairstow, he’s one of the best all-format batters in the world, but how he made his runs today was a real statement,” former Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara said on Sky Sports.
“It’s also a follow on from the fact he kept really well in this match. For most keepers, who are genuine all-rounders with the bat, they do go hand-in-hand.
“He’s such an invaluable player for England. The way he put the bowlers to the sword, clearing the lines at will, really dampened the Australian spirits.”
Glenn McGrath, a former Australian bowler, remarked, “For Bairstow to go out and bat like that would have given him confidence and it transferred into his wicketkeeping. Maybe that’s what he needed to get things going.”
While his series batting average increased to a respectable 40.00, Bairstow currently has more fifty-sixes in this Ashes series than Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, David Warner, and Carey combined.

The Yorkshireman has amply justified the selectors' faith after recently making a full recovery from a terrible leg injury.
“There’s obviously been a lot of talk, some of which has been a bit out of order, to be honest,” Bairstow said at stumps.
“They can say what they want. That’s up to them. They’re paid to have an opinion. If they don’t have an opinion, they don’t have a job.
“When you’re told that you might not walk properly again, never mind run or play professional sport again, I’m immensely proud of the determination that I’ve shown and the commitment to get back.

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